Blog Posts on Patient Identification in Healthcare

8 Ways Hospitals Put Patient Safety First

8 Ways Hospitals Put Patient Safety First

When you take a patient to the doctor or a hospital, you expect that all their treatments will be free of danger. Physicians and other healthcare providers should minimize the risk of infection and error while attempting to make their patients as comfortable as possible. The ultimate goal is that no patients are harmed. Physicians, nurses, dentists, and other healthcare workers can help make going to the doctor or the hospital a positive experience for patients.

8 Ways Hospitals Put Patient Safety First

Patients are a hospital’s number one priority and healthcare facilities always do the best possible strategies to ensure that their patients remain safe and healthy within their facilities. Here are some of the common ways hospitals use to guarantee that their patients’ safety is prioritized. 

1. Using A Monitoring System

Each healthcare worker is responsible for caring for varying numbers of patients, each with different needs and medications. Using a monitoring system can help nurses and physicians ensure that they are doing their job correctly and keeping a close eye on patient needs.

By using technology such as bed alarms to notify staff if a patient falls, the healthcare industry is helping patients remain safe in the background—hospital monitoring systems such as these assist in spotting and avoiding human error.

2. Preventing Contamination

If you’ve ever had any surgery, you know that the equipment can generate some smoke. An electrosurgical smoke eliminator, which often serves as an attachment to electrosurgery, is a tool that’s used to remove some of the smoke that may be seen during surgeries. This product helps to prevent the particles from circulating in the air before they have a chance to enter the body. Contamination can be controlled in various ways, for example, washing hands more often, providing handwashing stations, and making sure everyone wears protective equipment like masks, scrubs, and disposable surgical gloves when handling patients.

3. Hygiene Is Essential

Strictly enforced rules and regulations have a substantial impact on patient safety. It’s one of the most effective ways to control germs and the spread of infections in hospitals. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers should be used regularly and patients should be taught about the importance of hand hygiene should be discussed extensively. Doctors take control of their patient’s health by washing their hands before going into the treatment room.

4. Educating Patients About Their Treatment

Eliminating the patients’ ignorance about their medical treatment and well-being is vital to ensuring patient safety. Patients needn’t be fully aware of their situation, but higher knowledge levels are still desirable. The strategy of simply reminding patients what they’ve been told has considerable evidence of use in patient safety initiatives. Patients and family members are primarily concerned with their well-being. For recognizing and preventing errors, you’re helping them stay on track with their treatment and medication.

5. Ensuring Positive Patient Identification

One of the more overlooked issues within the US healthcare system is patient identification errors and they hamper patient safety significantly. Patient misidentification causes patient data quality issues, medical record mix-ups, wrong transplants, detrimental health outcomes, and even deaths. Fortunately, responsible healthcare providers are using innovative solutions like RightPatient, a touchless biometric patient identification platform, to ensure patient safety by eliminating patient misidentification. 

6. Verifying Test Results Before Operations

We’ve all heard the accounts of people who had their right knee replaced and received a botched operation—verification processes in the hospital procedure help combat frequent errors like these. Another kind of verification is the Universal Protocol, which allows any surgical team member to take a “time out” if they feel that the details of the surgery may be inaccurate. However, other aspects of healthcare use checks on medication dosage, timing, and handwashing procedures are essential to verification.

7. Checking the Dosage

Medical professionals can help patients closely examine the medications provided and ensure that proper doses are supplied on the prescription. Many of the remedies contain abbreviations that can sometimes be difficult to distinguish. Another popular abbreviation used that has no real-world meaning is once a day or the given dose. When it comes to these acronyms, one of the crucial actions of the organizations is to keep them out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them. If medications are spelled out, the information is visible for everyone to see.

8. Performing the Needed Diagnostic Testing

Doctors will often check the patient’s bloodwork or other bodily functions to find out what’s happening. Tests are completed, but additional tests impede the patient’s welfare. The doctor must examine the tests and the patient’s current and future health comprehensively to see if there are any medications required or any options available to deal with the condition. The doctor should also ensure no side effects following the treatment.

Takeaway

Doctors, physicians, nurses, and other medical practitioners should be held to the highest standards. They’re taking people’s lives into their hands. Even the smallest of errors could result in injury, illness, or death. They make sure to follow every safety protocol because they need to be careful at all times making sure that the safety of their patients is one of the topmost priorities. By following the ways listed above, hospitals can ensure that their patients are always healthy and safe from harm.

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5 Features of an Excellent EMS Computer Aided Dispatch System

Time is of the essence when your organization is in the business of saving lives. To improve response time and promote clear and concise communication between all parties involved, you need to make use of a customizable yet reliable computer-aided emergency dispatch system to coordinate with the rest of your team members. 

5-Features-of-an-EMS-Computer-Aided-Dispatch-System

If you’re in the market for emergency dispatch software specially designed to meet the needs of your EMS organization and improve the services that you provide your clients, there are a couple of things that you can do to make your selection process much faster and easier. One of these is listing down all the features that you want your ideal solution to have. Exactly what features should a dispatch software include so that it can help your institution provide high-quality service during stressful and critical situations? Here are a few that you should consider:

Mobile-Ready

Almost everyone owns a smartphone these days, and more often than not, your staff members access their daily schedules through their smartphones. When you’re dealing with medical emergencies on a daily basis, it is simply not ideal to rely solely on a computer or website to find out what your next schedule or assignment is. Therefore, it makes sense for your dispatch system to feature a mobile app that your team members can access in a heartbeat. 

Once they have the app installed on their mobile phones, your personnel won’t have to log in using a browser every single time just to see their updated tasks. Also, they can receive real-time notifications for urgent assignments. These features, in turn, will help your organization maximize the use of technology and minimize the time you need to provide your services. 

Visual Dispatching

The act of organizing a dispatch can take up a lot of time. Some systems will require you to manually input the time, location, situation, type of vehicle, personnel, and other details that are needed to carry out a proper response, and this can eat up precious minutes. 

Visual dispatching is a much faster alternative to this dated method. Simply put, visual dispatching allows you to click, drag, and drop a crew member’s details to a schedule grid, and your crew member will know about their current tasks or upcoming schedule changes. This method will make it easier for your dispatchers to manage both scheduled and unscheduled assignments that pass through your system. Also, because you can readily see everyone’s timetable, you’ll have an easy time identifying and filling up available slots. 

Multiple Manager Access

Companies that focus on maintaining public health are often open 24/7. EMS organizations typically have to change the schedule of their personnel every now and then to ensure that there are enough staff members to respond to the needs of their clients. This is true with both the EMS crew members on the ground and the dispatchers who coordinate their efforts. 

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RightPatient enhances patient identification.

Your online scheduling application, then, should allow more than 1 person to work in an administrative capacity. The system should feature multiple levels of access rights to ensure security. While one person can serve as the system’s primary administrator, the others can be given administrative privileges that they can use when the primary manager is out of their workstation. This way, your organization can continue providing its services even if there’s a sudden change in your staffing schedule. 

Active UHU Percentage

Your dispatch system effectively records the time that your team members are on the clock. This puts it in a unique position to report on Unit Hour Utilization (UHU). This key metric is what most EMS organizations monitor frequently when they have profitability in mind.

Using this metric, EMS organizations can track whether their ambulances are being utilized effectively and whether their crew members are being put to work. To maintain or increase profits, some EMS organizations set a minimum UHU goal to achieve. Besides profitability, this metric also helps dispatchers to allocate resources effectively so crew members are not stretched too thin. That way, crew members can provide better quality care and service even during stressful and critical situations.

Integration with Other Modules

Last but not least, your dispatch software should have the ability to easily integrate with other modules. When every module is sitting on an independent island, numerous IT resources and API calls are needed to get all data in one place. Headaches and frustration arise when you get data integration errors.  Your staff will then have to either fix the issues or key in those data, a highly inefficient process.

At the minimum, your computer-aided dispatch should integrate with ePCR and billing. If that’s the case, then you can improve cash flow dramatically because your billers can bill the dispatch as soon as it is finalized. Also, when your dispatch system is integrated with employee scheduling, you can eliminate the mistakes of assigning someone who is on PTO to a dispatch. These are just a few benefits when you use an all-in-one solution for EMS organizations. 

Conclusion

In order to provide people with quick, efficient, and life-saving services, your EMS organization should be supported by a computer-aided dispatch system that’s designed to meet today’s growing demands. To start, sit down with your team members to list down the essential and nice-to-have features as well as functionalities that you want to see in your next dispatch system. Then, use this list as a guide when checking out your options, or use it to formulate questions when you’re shopping for software providers. Doing so allows you to easily narrow down the vendors that offer concrete solutions to the dispatch system issues that you are facing today.

5 Benefits of Technology in the Healthcare Industry

5 Benefits of Technology in the Healthcare Industry

Implementing technology into medical enterprises has enriched the lives of many individuals all across the globe. Ranging from the invention of X-ray machines to advancements in surgical techniques, technology has heightened our life expectancy rates by making us healthier.

5 Benefits of Technology in the Healthcare Industry

Through platforms like Lecturio, information technology is formulated to offer personalized, affordable, and adaptive digital medical pedagogy. This will play a significant role in assisting you in acquainting yourself with how technology has upped healthcare.

How Has Technology Promoted Better Healthcare

There are multiple benefits of technology in the healthcare industry, which brings about a rapid shift in improved healthcare. The following are ways technology impacted healthcare.

Genome Sequencing

Genome sequencing is essentially decoding an individual’s genome. For this reason, it is referred to as the future of health care. Medical specialists’ ability to be equipped enough to sequence the human genome is one of the most tremendous in medical technology. The sequence informs scientists on the type of genetic progression carried by a particular segment of DNA.

The provision of genomic information is beneficial in instantly extracting powerful indications and storing them for future detection. This genetic data is used to find the causes and origins of diseases and how to bring about good health. 

Remote Monitoring Tools

If patients could monitor their health in their own homes, unnecessary doctor visits will be eliminated, and a lot of money will be saved. Tools such as pacemakers for patients who suffer from heart diseases are programmed to send data to health centers. There are also tools customized for patients living with chronic illnesses, and with them, the patients’ health can be monitored from hospitals irrespective of the distance.

Basically, these tools oversee the supervising improvements and breakdowns of patients with preexisting conditions requiring keen and close monitoring, which cuts in half the workload that would have otherwise been involved. Their ability to record this data and billing is an added advantage.

Telemedicine / Telehealth

In remote areas where health care services and hospitals are a bit easy to access, patients can communicate with doctors virtually through their phones and computers. This way, the medical expenses are a lot more substantial.

  • Telemedicine: this refers to the utilization of electronic communication and IT to provide medical services for patients situated in remote areas. Remote medical evaluations and diagnoses, virtual consultations, and digital transmission of medical imaging are all illustrations of telemedicine.
  • Telehealth: telehealth technology allows the remote review and diagnosis of patients and the proficiency for distant detection of oscillations in patients’ medical conditions to alter the specific therapy and medications accordingly. Telehealth also facilitates e-prescribe treatments remotely.

Wearable Technology

Technology has introduced wearable medical tools, and they are rapidly taking root in the medical market. These wearables are a category of electrically powered devices that could be implanted in the user’s body, accessories, tattooed on the skin, or embedded in clothing.

They do not require any manual operation and are microprocessor powered and can receive and transmit data through the internet to allow users to monitor their health. Wearable devices are used to gather data that will aid patients, and doctors will need to assess and regulate the wearer’s health. These devices are featured to notify the authorities of acute medical crises.

Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

Any medic will confess that electronic health records are an immensely significant advancement in the healthcare field. It promotes a myriad of upgrades in medical treatment and diagnostics. Unlike in the past, where medical records were clumsily handled, EHRs enable fast information, recording, storage, and transfer of medical files and efficient care integration.

However, many healthcare providers have to use additional solutions in order to use EHRs effectively. Proper patient identification is still a huge issue within the healthcare system due to the lack of an effective patient identifier. As a result, patient mix-ups, duplicate medical records, and patient safety issues are quite common. To prevent all that, responsible caregivers are using innovative solutions like biometric patient identification platforms and RightPatient leads the pack. It is a touchless solution that prevents HAIs (hospital-acquired infections), protects patient data, and enhances patient safety effectively.

To Sum it All Up

Over time, we continue to formulate strategies to promote the quality of our lives and cure ailments. Advancements in the field of medicine through technology have certified numerous life-saving strategies. Imagine being able to have an appointment with your doctor virtually with thousands of miles between you when a few decades ago, it was entirely impossible. Technology is nothing but an asset in the healthcare industry.

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Senators Focusing on Improved EHR Data Shows the Importance of Patient Identification

Unfortunately, even now, many believe that patient misidentification is not a significant issue within the US healthcare system. Even many healthcare providers don’t think of it as a huge problem. They fail to acknowledge that patient misidentification corrupts EHR data significantly, leads to patient record mix-ups, is one of the causes of wrong medical procedures, causes avoidable medical errors, and more.

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Let’s break down why they are wrong and how patient misidentification is a huge issue by observing what others are doing to solve it and how RightPatient is helping ensure positive patient identification

Patient misidentification is a huge deal – corrupting EHR data is just one of its consequences

A crucial factor that can lead to better patient safety within hospitals, according to the Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals for 2021, is by identifying patients accurately. That’s precisely why it has listed improving patient identification on the top of its list. Each year, the Joint Commission releases goals based on research that they believe will enhance patient safety. Each year, patient identification improvement is always one of the many goals, sometimes even topping the list (just like this year).

There are many healthcare organizations and associations such as AHIMA (The American Health Information Management Association) and CHIME (The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives) that focus on patient misidentification, its consequences (EHR data corruption, patient safety issues, detrimental healthcare outcomes), and the need for accurate patient identification.

Even last year, many organizations came together and formed a coalition called “Patient ID Now” for a national patient identifier. Unfortunately, there is very little progress in that area (as of now), and if the past tells us something, then the UPI (unique patient identifier) is still far from reality. Many organizations, healthcare experts, and officials urge the government to lift the ban on creating a state-funded UPI. Unfortunately, the ban has been in effect for more than two decades due to “privacy concerns”. 

RightPatient-enhances-patient-identification

However, while all of that is occurring, patient misidentification is still thriving and causing issues such as duplicate medical records, corrupting EHR data, hampering patient safety, causing avoidable medical errors, and more. Fortunately, more people are identifying how big of a problem it is. 

Patient misidentification is an issue significant enough to bring senators from different parties together. An effort taken by bipartisan senators is focused on improving patient record matching in hospitals and health systems, something that they believe is crucial for vaccine distribution as well.

Called the “Patient Matching Improvement Act”, it aims to provide vaccination sites, hospitals, and testing labs access to the US Postal Service’s address-formatting tool for improving patient record linkages. They believe that this will help contact tracing efforts and track community spread more accurately.

After the pandemic, it will also help improve EHR data within hospitals and health systems as they believe it will help improve patient identification. But will it be enough on its own, if it ever leaves the Senate health committee? What are responsible caregivers doing now to prevent patient misidentification? 

RightPatient effectively prevents data corruption

While there are several solutions available, the most feasible one, given the pandemic, is RightPatient. It is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that is the choice of responsible healthcare providers. Since it is touchless, it doesn’t create infection control issues for healthcare providers – improving patient safety and ensuring hygiene.

It enhances patient safety, prevents medical identity theft in real-time, ensures that patients are identified at any touchpoint across the care continuum, and is even ideal for telehealth sessions.

However, if the Patient Matching Improvement Act is introduced, RightPatient can augment its effectiveness further, as it is a tried and tested platform used by responsible caregivers – are you one of them?

Tips For Improving Patient Satisfaction In Surgery Centers

Tips For Improving Patient Satisfaction In Surgery Centers

Are you an administrator looking to expand or improve your hospital’s ambulatory surgical center’s operations? One critical component to every healthcare facility’s success is positive feedback. Use these practical tips to improve your patient’s satisfaction.

Tips For Improving Patient Satisfaction In Surgery Centers

What Is an Ambulatory Surgical Center?

Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) were created to administer a variety of low-risk surgeries. Some routine procedures performed at an ASC include:

  • Arthroscopy.
  • Cataract surgery.
  • Cesarean section.
  • Dental restoration.
  • Gastric bypass.

What Are the Benefits of an ASC?

ASCs are becoming an increasingly accessible option for many patients. These centers offer a variety of benefits such as:

  • Same-day discharge.
  • Lower out-of-pocket costs.
  • Higher nurse-to-patient ratios.
  • Lower risk of infection.
  • Improved recovery.

What Is Patient Satisfaction?

Patient satisfaction measures how pleased a person is with their level of care. This accounts for services both inside and outside the surgeon’s office. A patient’s feedback provides administrators with valuable insights into the effectiveness of the medical staff’s care and empathy level. 

How Is It Measured?

Patient surveys are an integral way to measure their overall satisfaction. Whether it’s in person, written, or over the phone, obtaining this information helps healthcare administrations identify gaps and develop quality improvement initiatives. Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is the industry standard for reporting patient experiences and their perspectives of the care they receive.

Tips for Improving Patient Satisfaction in Your ASC

A patient’s satisfaction level affects many areas of your ASC, such as patient retention, clinical outcomes, and medical malpractice claims. Healthcare executives and physicians can institute a few easy strategies to improve patient experience at ambulatory surgical centers across their system. 

Use Your Patient’s Name

For many patients, their hospital experience is often impersonal. Doctors may forget about one of the most important tools in their arsenal — a friendly hello. More than merely greeting your patients, use their first name.

Ensuring Accurate Patient Identification

One of the biggest pain points faced by any healthcare provider, whether health systems or ASCs, is patient identification errors. In the case of ASCs, these errors lead t mix-ups, wrong surgeries, and worse. Many healthcare providers are preventing these issues with touchless biometric patient identification platforms like RightPatient. By identifying patients accurately at any touchpoint within the care continuum, RightPatient enhances patient safety and personalized the experience – improving patient satisfaction in the process. 

Make Eye Contact

Keeping eye contact with the person you’re talking to shows that you are actively listening to what they have to say. A friendly, sympathetic attitude helps patients feel more at ease. It’s essential for building rapport and is a sign of care and respect. 

Focus on Patient Education

Information is vital to a person’s decision-making process and empowers them to better direct their healthcare. Enlist the help of nurses and other support staff to help educate patients, and remember to use layman’s terms.

Create a Welcoming Environment

Most people think a medical center is a cold and sterile place. Make sure your ASC is tidy, and add some comfortable seating arrangements, soothing artwork, and soft lighting to create an attractive aesthetic.

Upgraded systems

Value stream mapping (VSM) is a business management method physicians can use to analyze and improve patient flow. It gives administrators the tools to identify inefficiencies during any step of a patient’s experience.

Take advantage of these tips to ensure a positive patient experience. Create a welcoming environment for patients and add a personal touch. You’ll soon see your survey results improve.

Accurate-patient-identification-with-RightPatient

RightPatient Can Prevent Medical Mistakes, Patient Mix-ups, and More

While 2020 felt like a very long year for all the wrong reasons, it has been already two months into 2021, fortunately. However, COVID-19 is still having a significant effect, especially on the US healthcare system. One of the many issues that were present even during the COVID-19 waves was patient identification errors, and it demonstrated that healthcare providers need to upgrade their patient identification systems immediately. Patient record mix-ups, preventable medical mistakes, sending reports to the wrong patients, and not finding the patient records were just a few of the problems healthcare teams faced during the pandemic.

Accurate-patient-identification-with-RightPatient

However, there’s a more serious concern up ahead. As the vaccine starts to slowly but steadily reach the general public, potential vaccine mix-ups might occur as a result of patient misidentification. This will severely jeopardize vaccine rollouts and make them lose their efficacy.

While patient identification issues and their several consequences have been present for a long time, they can be prevented with an effective patient identification platform like RightPatient – let’s explore.

How RightPatient works to prevent medical mistakes

RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that helps hospitals and health systems prevent patient identification errors and mix-ups. It attaches the patent’s photo and biometric data to the medical records during registration. During subsequent visits, patients are required only to look at the camera – the platform verifies their identities and provides the appropriate medical records.

One of the best parts is that RightPatient is contactless, making it feasible for a post-pandemic environment, as it prevents HAIs (hospital-acquired infections). Moreover, it can also be used at any touchpoint across the care continuum, making it ideal for telehealth sessions. 

That was a lot about how RightPatient works – let’s see the issues it prevents – and can prevent – for healthcare providers. 

The problems RightPatient addresses

RightPatient prevents duplicate medical records

Duplicate medical records have been creating mix-ups, preventable medical mistakes, and more, leading to detrimental patient outcomes, impacting patient safety, revenue cycle issues, and lower bottom lines. Since RightPatient can identify registered patients right from the start, it prevents the creation of additional duplicate medical records as well as medical errors – improving patient safety and healthcare outcomes.

Prevent-medical-mistakes-with-RightPatient

RightPatient eliminates preventable medical mistakes

One of the biggest issues patient identification errors create is medical errors. For instance, patient A will get medications that are actually required by patient B – a single mistake can be disastrous. Moreover, there have been cases where one patient received a transplant that was supposed to be received by an entirely different patient. However, since their names or demographic characteristics were similar, a mix-up occurred. Fortunately, RightPatient prevents such cases – ensuring quality and safety in healthcare facilities.

RightPatient prevents medical identity theft and protects patient data

One of the prominent reasons medical identity theft cases are successful is because there is no way to catch the fraudster. Conventional patient verification methods are not well-equipped to handle misidentifications, let alone detect fraudsters.

Fortunately, RightPatient can accurately identify patients using their photos; whenever the fraudster tries to pass themselves off as the patient (or victim), the platform red-flags them, preventing medical identity theft in real-time. This helps in a number of ways – patient information is protected from being corrupted, litigation costs are prevented by the healthcare provider and patient safety is ensured.

Can RightPatient prevent vaccine mix-ups?

While most of us among the general public wait for the vaccine rollouts, we have to remember that, at this point, to ensure maximum protection, we require two doses of the vaccine. However, imagine this – a hospital is housing vaccines from two different manufacturers. What if a patient receives the shot of Pfizer’s vaccine the first time and the second dose is from Moderna? 

Unfortunately, vaccine mix-ups are occurring as we speak, and it might significantly reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines, putting numerous lives at risk. Moreover, many of these cases might occur due to patient misidentification.

Fortunately, RightPatient can help hospitals and health systems to determine patients’ identities accurately, prevent record mix-ups, and ensure efficient vaccine administration without any hiccups, enhancing patient protection against the virus.

Responsible healthcare providers have been using RightPatient for years – preventing patient safety issues, avoidable medical mistakes, duplicate medical records, and medical identity theft in real-time. Contact us now to be a more responsible healthcare provider.

Patient-information-protection-is-a-huge-concern-RightPatient

Is Patient Information Protection Possible With Rising Cybersecurity Threats?

Healthcare is always in the spotlight – mostly because of the wrong reasons. Some of the many topics that often come up when discussing healthcare issues are data breaches, medical identity theft, the lack of interoperability, the lack of patient information protection measures, patient identification issues, among other things.

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However, due to the pandemic, telehealth has become a mainstream tool to provide patient care outside of healthcare facilities. While telehealth has been an extremely useful medium for caregivers and patients, there are valid concerns regarding its security. Moreover, even before that, cybersecurity threats have been growing considerably for the last few years.

That being said, let’s take a closer look at the recent state of healthcare data breaches, how the data were obtained from hospitals, and if patient information protection is possible.

The pandemic showed patient information protection measures were not enough

When the pandemic started, healthcare providers in the US had their hands full – not only did they have their usual problems to tackle, but also they had to deal with the surge of COVID-19 cases that overwhelmed their facilities. Quite naturally, healthcare frontline teams, facilities, and anyone else involved with them was pushed to their limits. Fortunately, there was a ray of hope when many hackers pledged that they won’t focus on hospitals since they were facing the biggest challenge in decades. However, not all the hackers shared the same sentiment – many chose to attack during this vulnerable period. 

For instance, by the end of 2020, many hospitals and health systems were victims of a wave of cybersecurity attacks that left them paralyzed. The attacks forced them out of their systems – disrupting healthcare operations until the hackers’ demands were met. Moreover, even prominent health systems took days to restore and operate normally.

Others were handicapped, and while not fully locked out of their systems, these caregivers were unable to provide accurate healthcare services too. For instance, they had read-only access to patient records, meaning that they couldn’t update the records themselves, which is usually done after seeing the patient (virtually or otherwise). As a result, a lot of scheduled visits, surgeries, and elective procedures had to be stalled or postponed. Cyberattacks ultimately harmed the bottom lines of affected hospitals. However, all of these attacks, delays, and threats led to the conclusion that patient information protection must be upgraded significantly to ensure quality and safety in healthcare.

RightPatient-can-protect-patient-data-by-preventing-medical-ID-theft

How patient information is typically protected

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is primarily focused on protecting patient information from internal and external threats or data breaches. It applies to any organizations (known as business associates) that deal with patient information or PHI (protected health information). HIPAA even has a Breach Notification Rule that provides guidelines for hospitals that suffer breaches. Unfortunately, there are many cases where HIPAA violations do occur, leading to hefty fines and loss of goodwill.

But how do hospitals typically ensure patient information protection? 

Well, different healthcare providers have different guidelines, budgets, constraints, and advantages. However, some of the more common ways hospitals and health systems protect patient information are:

  • Having a robust policy in place
  • Developing a culture that focuses on protecting patient information
  • Regularly providing training to staff members that access patient information
  • Performing internal audits
  • Having a security improvement plan in place 
  • Monitoring access and restricting unauthorized individuals
  • Pursuing HIPAA compliance
  • Encrypting patient information both in transit and at rest

Patient information protection needs an upgrade

While the aforementioned were some of the common security safeguards hospitals use to protect patient information, the pandemic showed the flaws of the existing cybersecurity measures. Also, another factor to consider is that not every healthcare provider has state-of-the-art cybersecurity measures in place – many are restricted by budgetary issues, bureaucracy, and current priorities their leaders have.

Telehealth raised security concerns

Moreover, telehealth has changed the rules. When the pandemic struck the US in full force, it forced the government to relax rules regarding virtual visits. While this was to make telehealth easier for patients and caregivers, it also opened doors for hackers. Cybersecurity experts were understandably worried about frauds – they already occur during inpatient visits, what about virtual ones? 

As a result, due to ever-increasing cyberattacks, healthcare data breaches seem inevitable, don’t they? However, their effects can be mitigated by preventing medical identity theft – that’s where RightPatient comes in. 

RightPatient can mitigate the effects of data breaches

A robust patient identification platform used by leading providers, RightPatient locks EHRs with patients’ photos and their biometric data upon enrollment. During subsequent visits, patients only need to look at the camera – the platform runs a search, and, upon a positive match, provides the accurate EHR within seconds. Fraudsters are red-flagged during the verification process, preventing medical identity theft in real-time and protecting patient information.

RightPatient is versatile enough to be used at any touchpoint across the care continuum – making it feasible for telehealth sessions. Responsible caregivers have been using the platform for years now – are you one of them? 

Telehealth in the Covid era - from coordinating care to saving lives

Telehealth in the COVID Era – From Coordinating Care to Saving Lives

How telehealth evolved due to Covid

Even before the novel coronavirus pandemic broke out across the world, technologies like telehealth video conferencing were penetrating more and more institutions with the promise of new efficiencies for doctors and patients. 

Telehealth in the Covid era - from coordinating care to saving lives

The COVID‐19 emergency disrupted even the most stable healthcare systems, speeding up the introduction of new care modalities. Multiple telehealth solutions got the green light in clinics and hospitals to permit the delivery of comprehensive, high-quality care in new conditions.

Training and care coordination for pandemic responders

In the hectic first months of the pandemic, when governments and health systems were working out a response to an unprecedented situation, telehealth proved to be an indispensable tool for training and collaboration. 

Thanks to specialized telecommunications solutions, doctors from different institutions and even countries have been able to carry out distance education courses, deliver critical COVID-19 training for rural providers, and streamline real-time collaboration with out-of-hospital providers.

Addressing the needs of vulnerable groups

Domestic violence victims

Recent surveys have shown that the pandemic has had an impact on domestic violence victims as well, with people in abusive households facing a higher risk of isolation, depression, and suicide due to widespread social distancing and lockdown measures. 

Telehealth can go a long way in providing domestic violence victims and survivors with important psychological services whenever and wherever it’s comfortable for them. One example is The Zepf Center, a non-profit behavioral health center in Ohio that is now partnering with Bethany House and the YWCA of Northwest Ohio to install telehealth systems on-site and run an awareness campaign. The project will enable abuse survivors to connect with much-needed psychiatric, therapy, and case management services. 

Elderly patients

Out of all at-risk demographics, the coronavirus has especially heavy consequences among the elderly. In a situation where seniors have to minimize close contact with other people and postpone non-urgent medical visits to avoid contagion, their healthcare routines are being disrupted and key services become unavailable.  

New telehealth initiatives are now targeting care delivery to elderly patients that stay at home for their safety or experience poor availability of care due to hospitals predominantly treating COVID-19 patients. In Maine, elderly residents will get access to wellness services and advanced care planning with the help of telehealth in a program coordinated by the University of New England.

Within the program, osteopathic medicine students and family medicine practitioners will be trained to deliver their services, such as annual and routine preventive care for seniors, via telehealth platforms.

Rare disease patients

Before COVID-19, people with rare diseases already routinely turned to telehealth to reach specific experts without traveling a long way. In the last months, the same technology turned from convenience to a life-saver, since many rare disease patients take medications that adversely affect their immune systems and increase the risk of infection. By moving face-to-face consultations online, users are able to receive the care they need regularly and safely. 

For example, hemophilia patients in Ireland benefit from a well-developed EHR system that simplifies the use of telemedicine for managing hemophilia treatments. Surveys among such patients have shown that 94% are satisfied or very satisfied with telehealth physical therapy, and 63% express interest in a remote exercise class by video or via an app.

Tackling emerging challenges of telehealth delivery 

Despite multiple advantages and high levels of motivation among stakeholders, telehealth video conferencing initiatives still face many hurdles in their implementation. Let’s have a closer look at some of them. 

Accessibility

Not all telehealth solutions that are currently in use accommodate well for people with visual impairments, motor impairments, and language barriers. The pandemic has also highlighted the inequalities in access to a stable phone or broadband connection, especially in rural areas. For example, among elderly Americans, just 55% own a smartphone or have broadband access at home. 

A related factor is the lack of familiarity with telehealth technologies among patients and doctors alike. Most elderly patients are comfortable with telephone consultations, and a much lower number can confidently use video conferencing. 

A concerted effort is needed to tailor telehealth solutions to the needs of patients and, on the other hand, to improve digital health literacy among affected patient subgroups. 

Scalability

Quite simply, the pandemic has put all digital systems in healthcare under increased pressure, and scalability has become an issue for many telehealth providers. 

Developers introduce highly available architectures to help doctors reach geographically distributed patients and support a larger number of concurrent connections. Another way of addressing the issue is cloud-based autoscaling – an approach that leverages the flexibility of the cloud to ramp up resources in real-time depending on the performance and current demand.

Regulation

To address the migration of multiple healthcare services to online platforms, regulatory bodies in many countries had to ease the existing restrictions around telehealth. In March 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the U.S. reduced barriers to telehealth access. 

Among other changes, CMS dropped the rule that stipulated telehealth recipients needed a prior relationship with their healthcare professional of choice, which allowed doctors to offer consultations to new patients using telehealth. The easing of HIPAA requirements in telehealth also enables physicians to use popular videoconferencing platforms like Zoom and Skype for remote consultations.

Security

A lot of experts have been concerned about security issues that lead to cases of telehealth fraud and medical identity theft. Many hackers have even forced themselves into telehealth sessions, showing that an extra layer of security is required. 

Fortunately, medical identity theft is preventable if a robust patient identification platform is used to validate patients’ identities, and that is exactly what RightPatient does. It is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that uses patients’ photos to verify their identities and can be used across the care continuum, making it ideal for telehealth sessions. 

Conclusion

According to a report by The National Organization for Rare Disorders, before the pandemic, only about 0.01% of healthcare appointments in the U.S. were done via telehealth. By mid-April 2020, that number had risen to 69% of total appointments.

For many, a shift from in-person visits to telehealth in the current period improves safety and accessibility of qualified medical assistance. However, healthcare providers and regulators should take into account that for certain populations, the benefits of this transition also create new barriers and limitations. As we all work to minimize the COVID-19 risks, the efficiency and equitability of care delivery with telehealth should be examined in relation to various patient demographics.

Reducing-healthcare-fraud-and-abuse-with-RightPatient

Reducing Healthcare Fraud and Abuse During Telehealth Sessions

Healthcare fraud and abuse have been around for a significant amount of time – affecting healthcare providers, patients, and everyone else involved in the delivery of care. While most people think that it only affects patients financially, it has far more sinister consequences. For instance, medical identity theft, in many cases, causes the victims’ EHRs to become corrupt. Since the fraudster poses as the patient and might obtain healthcare services, their information gets recorded within the EHR, rendering it corrupt. Unfortunately, healthcare fraud is only increasing, demonstrating that it won’t be resolved soon. Moreover, experts are worried that healthcare fraud might bleed over to virtual visits (telehealth and telemedicine) as well since the majority of healthcare is using telehealth due to the pandemic. 

That being said, let’s take a closer look at the explosion of telehealth and its usage, why it might face healthcare fraud and abuse, and some practices that can help mitigate these cases. 

Reducing-healthcare-fraud-and-abuse-with-RightPatient

Telehealth’s explosion in a nutshell

One interesting fact about telehealth is that it has been around for quite a few years. While it has been debated between healthcare experts and patients regarding its benefits and drawbacks, it never got the push required for it to evolve – until the pandemic. 

Once COVID-19 hit the US in full force, telehealth was promoted for non-COVID-19 patients who required medical attention. Moreover, rules surrounding telehealth were relaxed in order to help healthcare providers adopt it. As a result, telehealth’s usage skyrocketed, and while it does have some flaws, it proved that virtual visits are the way forward.

Telehealth raises concerns about healthcare fraud and abuse online

While telehealth grows, so does online healthcare spending, attracting the eyes of hackers and fraudsters – ultimately leading to healthcare fraud. The NHCAA (National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association) stated that a whopping $68 billion is lost due to healthcare fraud each year. 

But why are healthcare fraud and abuse related to telehealth?

Well, while most of us have gotten used to navigating life during the pandemic by now, when it started, it was an environment that created confusion, fear, and panic among the general public – patients included. Moreover, as previously mentioned, many regulations were relaxed in order to ease telehealth adoption. This created ways for fraudsters and criminals to take advantage of patients and caregivers via malware, bogus cures, charities, etc. For instance, there were cases where hackers and fraudsters gained access to telehealth sessions. 

As a result, not only should healthcare providers aim to secure telehealth platforms, but they must also adopt practices that help protect patient information and prevent medical identity theft during virtual visits as they become the new normal.

Reducing healthcare fraud and abuse during telehealth sessions

Use graphical elements to detect outliers

Reducing-healthcare-fraud-and-abuse-is-possible-with-RightPatient

Healthcare is vast, and any healthcare provider has to store lots of information or data regarding their patients, operations, etc. Using this information by itself might be counterintuitive as outliers would be very difficult to detect, especially regarding healthcare fraud schemes such as kickbacks. Data visualization, on the other hand, provides a visual representation and ensures that outliers and suspicious trends can be identified swiftly. However, its success depends on one aspect – the quality of data. 

Provide security training whenever necessary

Medical identity theft and data breaches are quite common in the healthcare space. As a result, hospitals and health systems need to train their employees regularly and effectively to prevent falling into the pitfalls of malware, phishing schemes, etc. Ensure that the training sessions highlight the most recent breaches and how they occurred, emphasizing the importance of preventing such cases within your organization. 

Aim for HIPAA compliance to reduce healthcare fraud

In order to prevent healthcare fraud and hackers from breaching data, the foundation within the hospital has to be strong first. In this case, the foundation is known as HIPAA compliance. 

Now, HIPAA compliance can be an administrative burden for most healthcare providers since there are several rules and regulations to follow. However, ensuring HIPAA compliance can lead to preventing medical identity theft as well as data breaches, as most of the rules are regarding the protection of medical information known as PHI (protected health information). Also, HIPAA talks about providing training to the necessary personnel so that they are updated about the most recent changes.

Fortunately, there are many solutions available that can streamline HIPAA compliance and reduce the administrative burden, but the one that stands out the most is HIPAA Ready. It is a robust HIPAA compliance management application that keeps HIPAA related information in a centralized location. It can also be used to conduct internal audits, identify, and address security gaps – strengthening security efforts. However, the best part is that it can be used right from a smartphone, putting HIPAA compliance in the palm of your hand.

Implement solutions that prevent medical identity theft

Some factors make data breaches inevitable. Firstly, many healthcare providers have a very meager cybersecurity budget, leaving them vulnerable to attacks. Secondly, hackers are always coming up with new tactics to breach and steal patient information. These two factors alone make data breaches virtually unstoppable.

While healthcare data breaches seem to be inevitable, medical identity theft can be prevented – with RightPatient. 

RightPatient is a touchless biometric patient identification platform that attaches patients’ photos and biometric data to their medical records upon registration. For subsequent visits, patients only need to look at the camera – the platform runs a search and provides accurate medical records in seconds. Whenever a fraudster tries to assume the patient’s identity, RightPatient red-flags them, preventing medical identity theft in real-time. 

Moreover, RightPatient is versatile enough to be used at any touchpoint across the care continuum – making it ideal for virtual visits such as telehealth sessions.

6 Healthcare Technology Trends Accelerated By COVID-19 You Should Know

6 Healthcare Technology Trends Accelerated By COVID-19 You Should Know

Technology is the need of time. This era is moving, or you can say running on technology. Think for a while, is there any field that is performing its tasks without this gift of science? The answer is a big NO! And if every field is dependent on technology, why health lags?

6 Healthcare Technology Trends Accelerated By COVID-19 You Should Know

During this pandemic of COVID-19, we have seen drastic changes in our lives. Similarly, healthcare technology trends accelerated by COVID-19 are also one of those changes.

Healthcare needs advancement because the survival of the human race is dependent on this sector. COVID-1 has proved that many developed countries do not have advanced healthcare systems. And their healthcare sectors collapse within two months of pandemic during 2020. 

So, the world has realized the importance of technology. Because it improves the efficacy of healthcare professionals and improves the outcomes of the performing tasks.

Here are the healthcare technology trends accelerated by COVID-19;

E-Hospitals

E-hospitals are established to connect the patients, doctors, and hospitals on a single digital platform that helps in providing services to the citizens with great efficiency. 

This concept is broadly accepted all over the world during the COVID-19 pandemic peaks, as we need social distancing in this pandemic. And E-hospital is the only solution for this.

Through these hospitals, anyone can reach any doctor across the world. The data can be shared through digital media. And consultation can be provided from far distances.

E-Pharmacy

E pharmacy services are the unique way of facilitating the citizens and are provided during this pandemic. As we are using online portals for shopping and home deliveries, medicines can also be purchased through online platforms. 

Websites and Apps are available on which you can find and order the medicines and disposable medical essentials, and order them online.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine is a service through which healthcare professionals provide online consultations through digital platforms. Many websites and Apps are working day and night to connect the patients with the doctors. 

These platforms have a complete database of doctors according to their specialties. You can also search for a health professional according to the disease you are suffering from. 

You don’t need to wait in long queues or waiting areas of the clinics, rather you can book your appointment online and get your consultation while sitting in your homes.

However, there are growing concerns regarding healthcare fraud and medical identity theft cases during virtual sessions. Fortunately, innovative solutions like RightPatient can prevent medical identity theft even during telehealth visits since it can be used at any touchpoint across the care continuum to verify patients’ identities.  

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is enhancing the efficacy and outcomes of different health processes. It improves the diagnosis process, analysis, interpretation, and comprehension of complicated medical and healthcare data. 

It analyzes the data throughout the system. It helps in identifying the risks and infections. The data helps in predicting the future risks and healthcare outcomes.

Cloud Storage System

The storage system is like a cloud of data through which anyone can get information according to their need. A Cloud storage system in healthcare has all the necessary data stored in one place. 

And it can be accessible by anyone in the world. It is helpful in many ways like it is a cost-effective way of using the data and technology.

Wearables and Health-related apps

Covid19 led to wide usage of smart bands and health-related applications. The apps help in tracking your footsteps, workout, menstruation cycle, pregnancy, oxygen levels, heartbeat, and blood pressure, etc.

Similarly, people like to wear different smartwatches and bands to stay fit during this pandemic.

Living with the new normal is not that hard as it seems. If you just go with the flow and adopt the latest technology trends, you can easily survive this pandemic. 

Digital platforms like Marham are helping millions of peoples in connecting them with the best healthcare professionals while sitting in their homes. 

The website provides you a separate section of a health blog, in which you can read about the latest news related to COVID-19, health issues, remedies, best health professionals, and many more.

Now everything is just a click away in this online world. And you need to understand the benefits of these healthcare technology trends to get a better life ahead.